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August 31, 2023

Philly Proud Boys leader gets 15-year prison sentence for role in Jan. 6 Capitol attack

Zachary Rehl was found guilty of seditious conspiracy in May

A judge sentenced Zachary Rehl, the former leader of the Philadelphia chapter of the Proud Boys, to 15 years in federal prison on Thursday for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Prosecutors had recommended a 30-year sentence for Rehl, a Port Richmond resident who was found guilty of seditious conspiracy. Rehl was one of five members of the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, convicted in May.

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According to the sentencing memorandum filed Aug. 17, Rehl helped select "rally boys" and led them to a "vulnerable" entrance on the west side of the Capitol shortly before the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election was set to begin. In his charge toward the building, Rehl sprayed a police officer in the face with an irritant; during his trial, Rehl denied assaulting the officer.

"You did spray that officer, and then you lied about it," U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly told Rehl at his sentencing hearing. "Those are what we call in the law bad facts."

Prosecutors sought the lengthiest sentences yet for Jan. 6 conspirators in their recommendations for Rehl, Enrique Tarrio, Joseph Biggs, Ethan Nordean and Dominic Pezzola. That included 33 years for Tarrio and Biggs, 27 years for Nordean and 20 for Pezzola. Nordean and Pezzola will be sentenced Sept. 1; Tarrio's sentencing is Sept. 5.

Biggs, who also received a sentence on Thursday, will spend 17 years in federal prison, just one year shy of the longest sentence for a Capitol attacker. Stewart Rhodes, founder of the right-wing militia group Oath Keepers, is currently serving 18 years.

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